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Speech

Mr. Speaker, after more than a year of closure, the scrap metal trade is now officially open. This reopening has been long in coming, but we had to ensure that due diligence was applied, so that at the end of the day we have a system guided by an appropriate regulatory framework.

This meant months of careful examination of the existing regulations, and in-depth research of best practice in other jurisdictions, and in some cases adapting them, where necessary, to create a best-fit, for the local industry.

New features have been added to create the best operating and monitoring system for the scrap metal trade. As the Minister under whose portfolio the scrap metal trade falls, I am here to report that I am satisfied that the new scrap metal regime is being operated within the best possible regulatory framework.

Contrary to the view noised in certain public spaces that the reopening of the trade is a manifestation of the ‘policy of poverty’, the trade in scrap metal benefits a wide cross section of Jamaicans, operating at various levels along the value chain. It is perfectly true that the little hand-cart man benefits, but it is also true that the dealer benefits, the large utility and industrial companies, and the shipping lines benefit.

Just this morning I received a visit from the CEO of a family-owned manufacturing company, whose business generates scrap metal in the manufacturing process. The closure of the industry had resulted in significant losses to the business, which depends on foreign exchange to purchase raw materials.